The Project

“if you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” Ralph Speth, Jaguar CEO.

“if you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” Ralph Speth, Jaguar CEO.

This project is an attempt to prove that good design can reduce risk and maximising gains in startup investments. Over the next 12 months, I’m going to create a portfolio of 50 startups who I think do good design. 

“every £1 spent on design, businesses see a £4 increase in net operating profit.” UK Design Council


The Hypothesis

“Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works”. Steve Jobs, former CEO, Apple

Good design is reflected in company performance and valuation. Much has been written about the strategic value that design can add to any type of organisations.

A study in 2013 revealed that 15 design-led companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by 228% over the past 10 years.

Watermark Consulting stock portfolios based the Forrester Research’s Customer Experience Index, over a six-year period outperformed the S&P at a cumulative total of +43%.

The UK Design Council report in 2004 highlights that design aware companies outperformed FTSE indexes by more than 200% in the last 10 years.

Teehan + Lax created the UX Fund, investing $50,000 in companies who possessed a history of great user experience, in five years the portfolio had matured +101.8%. 


The Rules

“A $1 investment in usability returns $10 to $100” Tom Gilb in Principles of Software Engineering Management. 

I’ll invest £100,000 across 50 startups in Europe.

I’ll co-invest with experienced investors

I’ll invest in startup in a growing stage, post incubator programme or first seed round

I’ll held the shares for 5 year and track the value of the portfolio against other indexes. 


The Principles behind Good Design

“One of the most significant design principles is to omit the unimportant in order to emphasise the important.” Dieter Rams

  • Designers at the core, 1:4 minimum ratio design vs engineers and at least a designer in the confounding team
  • Build something useful, a product is bought to be used. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tool. Their design should therefore be both neutral, unobtrusive and restrained.
  • A perfect execution, well-executed product is beautiful because it satisfies functional,  psychological and aesthetic criteria. The experience is positive across the full juorney,
  • A self-explanatory solution, the startup demonstrates efforts in making the product understandable.
  • Inspire loyalty, Honest positioning, The startup does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. The product avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated.
  • Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment.
  • As little design as possible – Less, but betterbecause it concentrates on the essential aspects. Back to purity, back to simplicity. 


Please participate by giving me investment suggestions.